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I'm looking for a word that I can use to describe something that "breathes" (out) fire. If there is no such word, I can create it myself, much like Stephen King created Pyrokinesis.

Is there such a word?

To clarify: I am using the word as an adjective, and as part of a description in a document related to a novel I'm writing (sci-fi). So, for example:

Blablablabus Blabladens

Size: 2feet
Height: 1foot
Social Structure: antisocial
Notes: bla, bla bla.
Diet: bla.
Special Features: bla bla bla bla.
Pyrogenetic(?) Abilities: Breathes fire using blablabla organ.

See where I use Pyrogenetic? That's where I want to use the word. However, I'm not sure what word would be correct, and I don't want to use "Fire-breathing" if I don't have to.

After some deliberation and the highest voted answer so far:

I decided to create my own word(s): Ignigenesis/(Ignigenic).

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  • 2
    Breathes in or breathes out?
    – Mitch
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:03
  • 5
    Firebreathing should work.
    – Daniel
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:14
  • 2
    Ignirespiration = Latin Fire breathing, but that's not a real word.
    – Daniel
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:26
  • 2
    It seems to me that you want fire spitting, not fire breathing. The creature produces fire, but does not use fire for respiration.
    – dotancohen
    Apr 29, 2012 at 13:49
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    @dotancohen you can breathe something out without using it for respiration. For example we breathe out carbon dioxide but it's not something we use for respiration (in general our bodies don't take much in cause they are already saturated). So the animals in this case "breathe" fire out, and it's completely valid :)
    – RolandiXor
    Apr 30, 2012 at 1:18

3 Answers 3

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The only "real" adjective that describes something that breathes fire is fire-breathing. This isn't a common word, but then again, fire-breathing objects aren't all that common either.

If you want to make up a word, the Latin for fire-breathing is ignirespiratory. As FumbleFingers notes in a comment, pyrorespiration has been used before (9 results on Google), so you might want to give that a look. (It mixes Greek and Latin, but that's not too big an issue - look at television.)

Dictionary.com has an entry for the obsolete ignivomous, which means vomiting fire.

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  • Thanks for the help :). I'm beginning to feel I have to create a word.
    – RolandiXor
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:31
  • How about joining igni- with expiration or exhalation somehow?
    – Hugo
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:39
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    I've created my own word :)! Ignogenesis (n) / Ignogenetic (adj): producing fire.
    – RolandiXor
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:39
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    @Hugo: Ignixhalation?
    – Daniel
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:41
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    Fire-breathing isn't really all that uncommon either. For instance, I've quite often heard mother-in-laws described that way.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:42
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If you want the best possible word, I suggest that it not be a Greek-Latin hybrid, especially since there are so many correctly formed pure options that are perfectly fine.

There are igniferous, flammigerous, flammiferous, flammivomous, all actual English words, the first three roughly meaning "fire-bringing/causing/producing". The fourth ("flame-spewing") would be the most precise.

You could also name your category by a noun, like igni-/flammipotency, "power by fire" and replace the entire phrase Pyrogenetic(?) Abilities with it. Or you could use the adjective, igni-/flammipotent, "powerful by fire"; these words are based on actual Latin words with the same meaning but do not exist as English words (yet).

I'd generally prefer some compound with flamm-, because that has more connotations of active, flowing flames, as opposed to igni-, which is perhaps a slightly more static fire.

Based on Greek, you could use pyropneumatic ("breathing fire") which does not exist yet but would be correctly formed. The existing English word pyrogenetic ("capable of creating fire") is usually used for inflammable materials, but it would do well here too.

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  • I like pyropneumatic a lot for some reason.
    – mskfisher
    Oct 28, 2011 at 20:11
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Oddly there isn't an everyday word for 'fire breathing dragon'!
In mythology I think 'drake' might be the closest.

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  • @JasperLoy: it is also a word for Dragon :D
    – RolandiXor
    Oct 28, 2011 at 17:38

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